Obiena joins great mix in Monaco meet
EJ Obiena
Obiena joins great mix in Monaco meet
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tokyo-bound Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena will have a chance to gauge his Olympic chances as he faces the best the world can offer in the star-studded IAAF Diamond League Athletics in Monaco tonight (Philippine time).

Obiena arrived in Monaco from Formia, Italy yesterday just in time for the much-awaited meet that drew participation from the elite of the sport – reigning Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil, current world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.

Also seeing action are world-class bets Ben Broeders of Belgium, Thibault Collet and Valentin Lavillenie of France and Claudio Michel Stecchi of Italy.

“The world champion, world record holder and Olympic champion will all be there,” said Obiena. “The participants there will probably be the men’s pole vault finals in Tokyo.”

Obiena was coming off a silver medal effort in the 13th Triveneto International Meeting in Trieste, Italy on Aug. 4 behind eventual gold winner Braz, his training partner.

But his performance – 5.45m – was just the same he put up when he captured the Southeast Asian Games mint in Capas, Tarlac in December last year.

It was way off his Philippine record of 5.81, which he registered last year to make the Olympic cut at 5.80m.

Obiena, however, expects himself to level up with the cream of the crop of the sport.

“I want to be in that competition because they kind of drag me up and not just jump the heights that I want to jump,” he said.

It would be the first time Obiena is competing in the Diamond League, which stakes a top purse worth $10,000, or about P500,000 and $6,000 (P300,000) and $4,000 (P200,000) for the silver and bronze winners, respectively.

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